Becoming a Mum: Things to expect
Amongst the joys of becoming a new parent, there can be a host of new challenges that come into play during the 4th trimester and beyond. Here are some things to reassure you as you start your journey into parenthood, and thoughts that might just take you by surprise…!
1. Leaving the house can feel daunting at first
You wouldn't have given going out for milk a second thought before having children. However, getting your baby fed, changed, dressed, and into the buggy while also getting yourself ready may seem like an Everest-sized task.
Many mums don’t like the thought of navigating the buggy onto a bus for the first time or going too far from home in case their baby needs a change or a feed. However, once you've done it once or twice, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and you may begin to feel like you've regained some of your independence.
2. You won't travel lightly
Even if you've gotten into the habit of being out and about, leaving the house for any length of time is no longer a straightforward task.
Not only will getting ready for an average trip to the park take forever but packing for a weekend away appears to require you to bring everything but the kitchen sink!
If you find yourself rushing around, attempt to leave a little earlier than usual to avoid stressing yourself out by dashing about. Remember, you're a new mother and people will understand if you're late. You're probably more concerned than they are!
3. Being sleep deprived is expected
In your pre-baby life, you'd be excused for wanting an early night and a long lie-in after running a twelve-hour marathon (especially one that started at 2am). However, your baby may have other ideas just after birth!
Sleep deprivation is typical among new parents, but that doesn't make it any easier when you have to get out of bed for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night!
Try and grab some shut-eye when your baby does during the day. We have a blog coming in the next few weeks about sleep deprivation and will be sharing some tips on how to get that extra 20 minutes of rest in!
4. Your time isn't your own
Going from a bustling, independent life to responding to a newborn's every need might be exhausting at first. Cups of tea go cold because you never get those few minutes to enjoy it hot.
Remember, even if all you've done is look after your little one, that's an accomplishment in and of itself. Believe it or not, there will come a day when you will miss their constant want for a cuddle. And who cares if you weren't able to do the vacuuming?
5. Strange things can happen to your body
Having a baby can change your body, sometimes momentarily and sometimes permanently. Stretch marks and extra tummy wobble, are to be expected!
When you're still hurting from labour, especially if you've had stitches, you may be concerned about having your first poo because it could hurt.
Take your time, and whether you've had a tear or not, hold a sanitary pad over your perineum for support.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water, eat high-fibre cereals, and plenty of fruit and veg to help move things along.
6. You’re now a member of a secret club you never knew about
After having a child, you'll have a newfound appreciation for what a woman's body is capable of by growing and bringing a child into the world. Keep in mind that everyone is rooting for you. No one is criticising your actions!
You'll never again look at other women the same way. It can make you feel like you're part of a secret gang where everyone knows about the incredible journey you've gone through.
Giving you a bag of lightly used baby clothes, returning a toy tossed out of a buggy, or saying a nice word when you appear to be in need can all brighten your day!
7. Breastfeeding requires practice
However, for many mothers who wish to breastfeed, it is still a process that requires some, if not a lot, of practice before they get the hang of it.
If you feel like you might be struggling with breastfeeding, we will share some more tips and information on this and what to expect with your breasts after giving birth soon.
8. A chat over a cuppa (or a glass of something) is essential!
As a new mother who has just gone through one of the most miraculous things your body is capable of, it's a good idea to chat with other mothers about your experience.
Try meeting up for a cup of tea with your friends who are mothers to swap birth stories and discuss the plethora of new sensations you're experiencing to give you a lift, plus you'll feel supported. But don't be surprised if half of your talks revolve around the contents of your babies' diapers!
9. Trust your instincts...
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you're swamped with advice from well-meaning relatives or perplexed by the variety of baby books available.
Take advice from trusted sources as a guideline, but don't be concerned if you don't follow them exactly. After all, every baby and family is unique.
10. …Because you don’t have to be perfect
Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel like you’re getting it right all the time or if you feel like you're a bad mum or dad. No one is – whatever they say. Becoming a new parent is a rollercoaster ride, with days when you feel completely in love with your baby and others when you question what you've done.
Try to be open and honest about how you're feeling (remember the chat over a cup of tea?). Your baby isn't judging you, so relax and enjoy each day as it comes!
Join 1000's of families learning at home
Get 3 months of free access to our award-winning nursery education app.